Ausgabe 375 vom Donnerstag, 09.07.2015
Obviously last Sunday's 146th running of the Deutsches Derby at Hamburg was the main topic in German racing this week. It is the first Group One and also the most valuable race of the German season, and also the one that attracts the most media attention, as well as being the only German race with a strong ante-post market. It was almost certainly a good result for the layers this year, as the betting was dominated throughout by three horses, two of whom, the unbeaten pair Karpino and Quasillo, both bred by Gestüt Fährhof and trained by Andreas Wöhler, failed to make the line-up after setbacks, while the third, Australian-owned Shimrano started as clear favourite but never got into the race after a slow start and finished eleventh of the eighteen runners.
The winner Nutan, owned and bred by Freiburg banker Jürgen Imm, who races under the nom de course Stall Nizza, trained in Cologne by Peter Schiergen and ridden with great confidence by local boy Andrasch Starke, could have been backed at 12-1 a week before the race, but his odds came down rapidly as a result of the excellent stable form during the meeting, and at the off he was second favourite at 33-10. For the owner, it was a second Derby success, after Nicaron in 2002, but Schiergen was scoring for the fifth time and Starke for the seventh, making him the most successful jockey in the race in the postwar era.
There Is a strong Irish connection here. Imm keeps half his mares in Germany at Gestüt Römerhof in the Erft valley west of Cologne, an area where several leading studs are situated, and the other half in Ireland at Joe Hernon's Castletown Stud. The Irish-born foals, such as Nutan, are sent to Germany at weanlings and reared at Römerhof, whose owner Michael Andree is also Coolmore's German representative. Nutan is by Duke of Marmalade, at that time a Coolmore stallion but now in South Africa, while his dam Neele is by Peintre Celebre.
The bottom line however is all German. Nutan is Neele's third foal, the first being the Group One winning filly Nymphea (by Dylan Thomas, and hence a three parts sister to Nutan), now in foal to Australia. This family has been particularly successful in recent years for Gestüt Wittekindshof; Neele's dam Night Teeny (Platini) is a half-sister to Preis der Diana winner Night Petticoat (Petoski), dam of German Derby winner Next Desert (Desert Style) and Diana winner Next Gina (Perugino). Neele is also an own sister to Oaks d´Italia winner Night of Magic, herself the dam of this season´s leading three-year-old filly Nightflower (Dylan Thomas). The family has been well established in Germany for many generations and traces back to the celebrated Tesio mare Catnip (Nutan's twelfth dam), who had a huge influence on German breeding. One also remembers Novellist (Monsun), another distant descendant of Catnip, who just failed to win the 2012 Deutsches Derby, but was the champion of his crop and one year later won the King George for owner/ breeder Dr. Christoph Berglar.
The question now of course is how good is this year´s German Derby winner. Nutan was clearly the best horse on the day, as his winning margin of five lengths demonstrates. Runner-up Palace Prince (Areion), the only supplemented entry, ran on well, but had previously won a listed race at Compiegne- and on an objection at that; that race, to be true was well contested and the form has been boosted since, but it is hardly top Group One form. Fair Mountain (Tiger Hill) just got third from Areo (Medicean) and Rogue Runner (King´s Best) for third. Nutan was drawn on the inside and had a dream run on the rail, he clearly had the run of the race and of course benefited from the strong form of the Schiergen stable and especially of Starke, who rode 13 winners during the meeting.
The handicapper at any rate has taken a positive view and put Nutan on 117, above average for the German Derby winner, although of course well below the rating given last year to Sea The Moon. That one was quite spectacular, and was quite rightly given a top rating and flattering quotes for the Arc, until injury forced him into early retirement. Nutan is not at this stage a realistic Arc proposition; he is a big horse and Schiergen has made it clear all along that he is a late developer, who will be a much better four-year-old. It seems likely that he will have only two more races this year, both in domestic Group Ones.
Obviously the Derby was a bit of a downer for Fährhof, whose two big hopes both missed the race, although they are the breeders of fifth-placed Rogue Runner. However it was still one of their most successful weekends ever; the previous day in the Durban July, South Africa´s richest race, the first three home had all been bred by Maine Chance Farms and sired by their resident sire Silvano. Silvano was bred by Fährhof and trained throughout his career by Andreas Wöhler; he had an amazing globetrotting season as a five-year-old in 2001, when he won top races in three continents (but never ran in Europe!). Maine Chance Farms is owned by Dr. Andreas Jacobs, who is also chairman of the foundation that owns Fährhof in Germany (founded by his grandfather) and also of the family holding company that owns Newsells Park in Hertfordshire. He is still a major shareholder in Silvano, South Africa´s current champion sire and after last Saturday´s result with good prospects of repeating that feat this year.